No trap game this time.
The Milwaukee Bucks more than took care of business Friday night, Riding a 31-7 first-quarter run, the Bucks raced out to a huge lead and were never challenged in a 144-112 victory over the Atlanta Hawks at Fiserv Forum.
With a big game Saturday against the Toronto Raptors, the Bucks learned their lesson from six weeks earlier. Back then, the Bucks hosted the lowly Phoenix Suns Nov. 23, a night before hosting the San Antonio Spurs. The Bucks lost to the lowly Suns, 116-114, just Phoenix’s fourth victory at that point.
Milwaukee improved to 27-10 heading into Saturday night’s game against the Raptors, who are 28-12.
The game also represented Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer’s first game against the team he coached for the previous five seasons.
Malcolm Brogdon and Khris Middleton led the Bucks with 19 points each. Giannis Antetokounmpo, named Eastern Conference Player of the Month for the second straight month on Thursday, finished with 16 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in just 19 minutes. As the game developed, minutes turned into the most notable stat. None of the five Bucks starters played more than 22 minutes, as the score allowed the Milwaukee frontliners to rest for Saturday’s meeting with the Raptors.
The Bucks lead by as many as 46 late in the third quarter against the rebuilding Hawks, who lost their third straight and fell to 11-27.
The Bucks won their fifth straight and are 4-0 to open their six-game home stand.
The game featured the return of Ersan Ilyasova, who missed the previous eight games with a broken nose. Ilyasova posted 10 points and 10 rebounds in 19 minutes, as he and the rest of the bench received ample playing time.
Milwaukee broke away from a 5-5 tie and led, 43-14, after a quarter. The Bucks also posted 42 points in the third quarter, holding a 118-79 lead entering the fourth quarter.
DeAndre’ Bembry led the beleaguered Hawks with 19 points.
Twelve players played for the Bucks, and ever one of them scored at least eight points. Eight finished in double figures. Middleton led all Milwaukee players with a plus-29 rating on the night and went 4 for 4 on 3-pointers.
Milwaukee’s 144 points matched a season-high set in a 144-109 victory over Sacramento on Nov. 4.